The first reason, one that might seem obvious, is to avoid breaking the trust that customers place upon you, the brands, and the industry as a whole. By being transparent, you will ensure that your clients value your brand for the choices you make and avoid any future disappointments. This is the key to retaining your clientele and making sure that your brand is always their first choice.
But, if this elemental reason is not enough, let’s take a look at the laws and regulations: More and more countries are adopting stronger laws to protect consumers and avoid green and fair washing.
In Europe, the regulatory framework in relation to sustainability claims is becoming increasingly demanding. In France, for example, since the adoption of the “Climate Law” in August 2021, steps are taken to actively fight greenwashing and “fair washing”. Starting this year, a growing number of products will have to include tags specifying their environmental impact and giving transparent information concerning their life cycle. The law also introduced high sanctions for brands that make misleading or unclear claims about their environmental impact. Last but not least, the law also prohibits the use of expressions like “carbon neutral” and increases the control of brands using claims such as “Made in France” or “fair trade” (in this case brands will have to be certified by a recognized label). This law shows a real commitment to promoting higher standards of transparency concerning the impact of consumer goods and it also encourages better communication concerning social and environmental benefits.
In the UK, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is carrying out a Full review of misleading green claims made by local companies. The objective is clear: “firms making green claims “must not omit or hide important information” and “must consider the full life cycle of the product”. And the CMA will monitor most of the sectors, including the fashion sector. Therefore, they launched the massive “green claim campaign” to educate both brands and consumers to better analyze the brands’ claims.
In contrast, in the US, green guides were issued years ago as an attempt to help brands avoid making deceptive claims, but these guides don’t have force or effect of law. The Federal Trade Commission is left without effective tools to enforce the recommendations of this guide and consumers can still be exposed to greenwashing.
Are sure that the recycled gold you use doesn’t involve child labor, mercury, and violence?
Besides this increasing regulatory pressure, brands are progressively subject to public shaming when caught greenwashing. NGOs, consumer groups, and the press have been unveiling the dirty secrets of several brands over the past few years. After its grand announcements about its responsible sourcing policy, Pandora has been the object of articles that have denounced rhetoric that could tend to greenwash. Adopting transparent and honest communication is very important to keep a good reputation.
Now that you know why you should play the transparency card, let’s see how to do it in the second part: Five tips to make transparent claims about your gold sourcing